Accused Riah calls in his lawyer

11 January 2007

by Bill Bowder

In Jerusalem: Bishop Riah (right), who is to be succeeded in April by the Rt Revd Suheil Dawani

In Jerusalem: Bishop Riah (right), who is to be succeeded in April by the Rt Revd Suheil Dawani

A CHARGE of nepotism has been reported against the Bishop in Jerusalem, the Rt Revd Riah Abu El-Assal, who is to retire in March. In response, he is said to be taking legal action against the authors of a church report and against the Jerusalem Post.

The newspaper reported that in September a diocesan committee had passed the diocese its 35-page report on allegations that Bishop Riah had influenced the choice of an insurance company for two church schools, after an agreement to allocate half its commission to his son-in-law. The newspaper said that the report described the Bishop’s actions as a “dramatic combination of nepotism and violation of trust”.

Zeki Kamal, a lawyer acting for the Bishop, told the news agency ENI: “The Bishop, who is a good man and a deeply religious individual, was not involved in any act of wrongdoing.”

The Bishop in Cyprus & the Gulf, the Most Revd Clive Handford, said last month: “I have seen the report, but it is confidential to the standing committee and then to the synod of the diocese of Jerusalem. . . The Bishop is not subject to any formal procedures.”

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